Richard Attenborough was a huge supporter of South Africa and the liberation movement. His film, CRY FREEDOM made in 1987, was the first significant anti-apartheid film ever made by a Hollywood studio, and told the story of Steve Biko and life in South Africa during the dark days of apartheid.
He and his wife, Lady Sarah, were enormous friends of South Africa, and visited the country many times in the post-apartheid era and visited with us in Durban on a few occasions. Not only was he a hugely talented producer and director, he also acted in some of the most powerful films made during his 70 year career in the industry, among which were The Great Escape, Brighton Rock, Seance on a Wet Afternoon, Doctor Dolittle and many others.
He was a role model and an inspiration to me and many filmmakers around the world. On a personal level, he motivated me to persevere in my career, as he did, and pursue my projects with passion and tenacity, especially having taken over 20 years to make his epic, multi award-winning film, Gandhi.
We will miss him and our sympathies go to Lady Sarah and the greater Attenborough family.
Durban, South Africa
25 August 2014